Patrick Thompson has been identified as the man who attacked two elderly Asian women with a knife Tuesday. The stabbing took place around 5 p.m. along Market Street in San Francisco, and police are investigating whether it was racially motivated.
The 54-year-old San Francisco resident was arrested after authorities released photos of the suspect. He was taken into custody by Tenderloin Station officers near Larkin Street Tuesday, charged with attempted murder and elder abuse.
The two female victims, a 63-year-old and an 84-year-old, weren’t bothering anyone on Market Street when a man came up from behind and attacked them. The crime was completely unprovoked, authorities say. Thompson slashed the first victim’s arm, before lodging the huge knife into the side of the older woman, later identified as Chui Fong Eng. The 63-year-old has not been identified.
The video of the horrific stabbing was released on Thursday after much debate. News reporter Dion Lim from KGO-TV decided that revealing the stunning footage would do more good than harm, expressing the severity of the Asian hate epidemic in the United States in recent months.
“TRIGGER WARNING” Lim tweeted Thursday. “I am choosing to show you video I obtained from sources of the two Asian senior women were stabbed along Market Street this week. This was not an easy decision.” The tweet was accompanied by #StopAsianHate, a trending hashtag on Twitter as hate crimes continue to surge.
Lim described the purpose of revealing the video, which shows Patrick Thompson seemingly choosing to attack the two Asian women in particular out of the several other individuals on Market Street. The video was “to show context. In this case, my team and I felt like it was important to see what happened so you understand how serious this crime is.”
It was later revealed that the alleged stabber is Patrick Thompson, who has a criminal history. He was arrested for an assault with a deadly weapon in 2017 but was released on mental health diversion in 2020. The sentence was 25-years-to-life and was cut short last fall.
The knife used in the attack was described as larger than Mrs. Fong’s arm. It was lodged in the 83-year-old’s body and it punctured her lung. It was impaled so forcefully that it broke off into Ms. Fong’s side, separating the blade from the handle.
Lim shared the picture of Mrs. Fong’s x-ray on Thursday, after discussing the decision with her grandson. “We need to put as much pressure as possible to get this guy prosecuted,” the grandson explained. Lim described the photo as “part of the pressure.”
The crime was committed only two days after a woman attacked two Asian women with a hammer in New York City. It was the “latest seemingly senseless and despicable hate crime against Asian Americans in this state,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement. “We will do everything in our power to protect those who are vulnerable to these attacks and to hold cowardly perpetrators accountable to the full extent of the law.”